Watches

Justin Theroux's Watch Has A PhD In Early 20th Century Design

Meet the Tiffany & Co. watch that's part of the big square watch renaissance.
IMAGE RACHEL LUNA
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Justin Theroux is a watch man proper. But though he has a thing for pieces that feature prominently in the not-very-humble rhymes of Nicki Minaj, he's also partial to the classics. His latest favorite tips its hat to the horological tastes of yore, rather than those of the XXL freshmen list.

At the Hollywood launch of a new Tiffany & Co. men's line, the 48-year-old showcased the American marque's re-issue of an old-timey favorite: the Tiffany 1837 Makers. It's got an Art Deco-ish face. Its gold touches are sparingly (and tastefully) applied. But most striking is its big square dial.

Tiffany & Co. Makers 27mm Square Watch

Photo by TIFFANY & CO..
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Like the movements that power them, trends in watches cycle round. There's only so much you can experiment when you're working with something a few centimeters wide. But after blue dials, bronze cases, and dual-tone bracelets, all things the watch world has seen approximately 638 times, the square dial's 22nd coming has arrived right on schedule.

When the mass-market developed an appetite for wristwatches in the early 20th century, it was square watches, and not round, that were top of the menu. By then, the circle was old hat. Men had been carrying that shape around for decades in the form of a pocket watch. Suddenly, it was hip to be square, even if Huey Lewis wouldn't crystallize the sentiment for another 80 years.

But what goes up most come down. Watch manufacturing evolved. It became easier to affix straps to cases with the introduction of lugs. And, inevitably, tastes changed.

Photo by Gregg DeGuire.
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For now though, square dials are back. They may never acquire the same popularity as they did when Edward VII was on the throne, but there's a definite move away from curves and towards corners, as seen in models from the Longines Heritages 1968 to the more affordable Norse from Larsson & Jennings. The tide is swelling, and Tiffany & Co.'s iteration is one of the most classic ways to ride it.

Classic in the actual sense, too. Because all good horologists know which shape was the favorite first.

This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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